Saab in Linkoping decided to change its way of working and to build new offices. The result is a new modern workplace, where flexibility and internal openness works in cooperation with the company’s requirement for high quality and integrity.
Satellit Architects in Stockholm were given free rein to create the new office interior. Their brief was clear and distinct. Saab wanted to promote a more natural exchange of experiences and ideas between colleagues, and went from having individual rooms to an open workspace. The building was suppose to be divided into so called “ships” (departments). The company wanted to create a greater flexibility, and make it easier to move between different projects. The storage needed to suit the company’s clean desk policy. All personal belongings would be stored at a central location, and the desks should be left clear in the end of the day. The interior design was arranged to make it possible to increase or decrease amount of workspaces available. All within the confines of the company’s high standards of security and confidentiality.
Group commitment and participation Changes of this kind can create concern and stimulate strong feelings in a workforce. Interior designer Sofie Hjort from Satellit explains the importance of getting all parties involved in the changes: “At SAAB we started the project off by creating workplace groups with representatives from following segments: the board of directors, the staff members, the union, the architects as well as experts in social science.” “Together we created demand specifications, and when the interior design sketches were finalised we could set up a ‘test room’,” added Sofie. “This conveyed the feeling of the new office environment and it all became more graspable. Everyone involved had the opportunity to see and experience what the plans meant, from the seating area and storage solutions to the soundproofing and lighting.” Interior design through collaboration Saab’s Clean Desk Policy is supported by smart storage solutions. For Saab, interior designer Sofie found the answer by using lockers from Bruynzeel that was placed in a high-density mobile storage system that took up very little space. The lockers were equipped with electronic locks that were operated using a multi-functional card. The same card is also used as a key badge, pass, and for clocking in and out, making it very easy to keep track of and easy to lock or create a new one if the card is lost. House rules Each “ship” or department have their own house rules, to foster respect between co-workers. Care for others is the leading word in relation to the atmosphere and productivity in an office, and to support this at Saab, Sofie Hjort has created oases of calm. In every ship you can find a silent room for any individual that wants to get some privacy. You can also find colorful meeting rooms and smaller rooms used for phone conversations. There are also some comfy break rooms situated in each ship, positioned a respectful distance from the office area. In the break room you can meet up with your colleagues to have a coffee. If you want to warm up your food this can be done in one of the three dining areas situated in the building. Onwards and upwards Saab is embracing change at its office in Linkoping in order to drive forward its business, with a new way of working providing the wind beneath its wings.